It’s been a long time… Whether it’s the sun, the economy, the elections or the new pension regulations, I know not and frankly, I care not. We are experiencing the same level of interest in both charter and sales as we did in 2006, which was a record year for Henley Sales and Charter. It is a joy to behold so many beautiful boats currently on our books and how exciting to have a Vaporetto from Venice, built in 1905, on the same website as a whole raft of Dunkirk Little Ships.

The 2015 Dunkirk Return

Dunkirk 1940 plaque

I set off under the tunnel, by car I hasten to add, to catch up with familiar faces, waiting to greet us in the port of Dunkirk. After a delightful lunch of the inevitable Moules Frites, washed down with Provencal Rosé (more of which later…). Steve and I went on board the Bates Star craft, which had accompanied the crossing and included our very own New Venture. She has been owned for the last couple of years by Phil Christensen who has retained her essential 50’s styling while dramatically improving her wiring, bringing it into the 21st century.

Dunkirk Little Ships crossing the Channel

Dunkirk Little Ships crossing the Channel

With bunting flapping heroically in the wind, the Dunkirk Little Ships presented an eye-watering spectacle on the town side of the port. Acres of varnish adorned the wheel houses and decks of boats which will be familiar to many of our readers, including Wairakei II which was sold after the Dunkirk return in 2010.

Silver Queen

Silver Queen

Unsurprisingly, after an event of this kind, owners are keen to trade up and so Lady Isabelle is now up for sale, as is Silver Queen, Mada and possibly Papillon.

Casino Royale: Meet the newest addition to our charter fleet

Casino Royale before and after renovation

Casino Royale before and after renovation

This beautiful electric Chris Craft has not always been the polished, pristine boat she is today. Built in 1938 as an enclosed cruiser for Arthur Bray, the UK agent, she was originally white with a sky blue underside.

Destined to be shipped to Poland, the war intervened and she remained in the UK. Her history remains unknown for over 60 years until she was rediscovered in Norfolk in 2012, without so much as a hull number to be found. She was tracked by her length, as very few boats of 29 feet were built around that time.

Michael Dennett Boatbuilders saw her potential and brought her back to some semblance of her former shape, saving her from an early grave. No one will miss the quirky Chris Craft engine as she purrs silently along the Henley Regatta course.

Call the office to book a charter on the newest member of the fleet.

Rehomed by HSC

Miss Fash at the Balboa Yacht Club Wooden Boat Festival

Miss Fash at the Balboa Yacht Club Wooden Boat Festival

Keen river watchers may have missed the silent elegance of the Victorian launch so aptly named, Humble (not so very).

In fact, she followed her owner, the delightful Miss Fash, all the way across the pond and beyond to Newport beach California, where she has just carried off trophies galore at the Balboa Yacht Club Wooden Boat Festival. Follow the link and feast your eyes.

Beale Park Boat and Outdoor Show

From Balboa to Beale Park. That very same weekend back in blighty, HSC had the bunting blowing gently in the breeze to welcome boat show visitors to our boat store where we had been busy for four solid days cleaning and polishing 28 lovely boats.

The beautiful Chris waiting for a new owner

The beautiful Chris waiting for a new owner

Fortunately, the Chris Craft, appropriately named Chris, turned up just in time to join the display. Several boats sold over the weekend, and I returned to the office in Henley on Monday morning rather tired but full of optimism for the 2015 season.

Baby Boatique – Petit Bateau

Petit Bateau - Oilskin jacket

Petit Bateau – Oilskin jacket

If rowing or boats are your thing, and there have been any recent additions to your family or friendship circle, do consider the novelty appeal of our Petit Bateau baby gear. It’s bright, refreshingly cheery, not just blue and pink, and all comes beautifully boxed.

Petit Bateau - Baby wear

Petit Bateau – Baby wear

We are the only Petit Bateau Baby stockists West of London. So if you are in the area make sure to drop by our shop or give us a ring to check sizing and we will despatch.

What’s coming up

Obviously our next big summer event is rowing related, with the Henley Women’s Regatta this coming weekend, where Boatique will have a stall.

Henley Royal Regatta course in action

Henley Royal Regatta course in action

July 1st brings us the Henley Royal Regatta. There are still some possibilities for charter if you fancy enjoying this event in style: Pietra Santa has some gaps and there is the recent addition of Casino Royale to the fleet. Dust off your tuxedo, order a Prohibition cocktail and pack your sawn off shotgun.

Speak to Alex, who joined us this week, after a gruelling final year at University, about any of these events or anything else charter related. Expect to see a lot more of her at 5 Friday Street, where she is attempting to put some order into the filing cabinets and Gillian’s head!

Feel free to phone Alex on 07436 812 508.

During the Regatta week Boatique will be open from 8am to 8pm selling wine, Champagne and all the necessary accessories.

Rescue Tec bag

Rescue Tec bag

Another rowing and boating season essential now available at Boatique is the Rescue Tec bag for recovering your phone and other valuable items from water damage. It’s ideal for all water lovers. Tried and tested by several members of the HSC crew. Put one in your first aid kit!

The new TTBR Traditional Boat Festival

TTBR Traditional Boat Festival

The new Trad Boat Festival has replaced the old and much loved Thames Traditional Boat Rally. As ever it will feature a stunning collection of vintage, classic and traditional boats all along the riverbank and spectacular sail-pasts. Some 250 boats may be attending!

The Festival is a new and expanded version of the old rally with lots of additional attractions, and will take place at Fawley Meadows, Henley-on-Thames on July 18th and 19th.

You will find HSC amid an array of gleaming decks as well as a mini Boatique stand next to the champagne bar (completely by chance of course …). Hope to see you there.